How to Become a Banquet Manager: Education and Career Roadmap

Learn how to become a banquet manager. Explore the job description and the education requirements, and find out how to start a career in food service management.

Should I Become a Banquet Manager?

Banquet managers direct and oversee events at banquet facilities, which might be located in restaurants, hotels or resorts, convention halls, country clubs or similar sites. Generally, banquet managers plan events with clients, handle employee training, oversee employee hiring and firing processes, maintain inventory and comply with food safety regulations and laws.

The field of banquet management is a fast-paced one, but these managers get to flex their leadership skills by overseeing a variety of workers. Managers may need to work irregular hours, including weekends and nights. These professionals should have great people skills, particularly when dealing with dissatisfied customers. The following table shows core requirements for banquet managers:

Career Requirements

Degree Level No degree required, but an associate or bachelor's degree could advance opportunities
Degree Field Hospitality management, food service management or related field
Certification Certification is available, but not required
Experience 2-3 years of experience in the field; some training programs include practical hands-on coursework, allowing potential managers to gain experience prior to entering the field
Key Skills Excellent customer service and communication skills, leadership and management skills, critical-thinking and reasoning abilities, ability to meet deadlines and multitask, familiarity with accounting, analytical, database, inventory management and point-of-sale software, cash registers, laser printers and PDAs, ability to work unconventional hours
Salary $48,560 per year (Median salary from May, 2014 for food service managers)

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, O*Net OnLine, Monster.com job postings (October 2012)

Step 1: Complete a Program in Food Service or Hospitality Management

There are nearly 1,000 schools across the nation that offer bachelor's degree programs in food service management or hospitality management, according to the BLS. Other training programs result in an associate degree or certificate; these types of programs can be found at community and technical colleges.

A 2-year or 4-year degree program usually combines general education courses with core courses in hospitality and food service management, while certificate programs focus solely on core courses. Many programs include the opportunity to complete cooperative learning experiences or internships. Some are structured to award or qualify students for various industry certifications. Courses generally cover business and technical topics in the hospitality field, such as marketing, research, revenues, expenses, financial analysis and law. Elective courses can include areas such as resort development and operations, convention services, human resources management and ethics.

Success Tips:

  • Develop excellent people skills. A banquet manager deals with a variety of people, including customers and workers. He or she often has to address sensitive topics like customer satisfaction and employee performance. Taking courses such as human resources, communications or public speaking can improve customer service and employee relations skills, potentially making a candidate more attractive to potential employers.
  • Develop familiarity with commonly used programs and systems. Hospitality and food service management positions require the use of computer systems and software programs. Growing comfortable with technology typically used in the field might be a good way to gain an advantage in the job market.

Step 2: Gain the Necessary Work Experience

Employers seeking banquet directors might require an applicant to have around 2-3 years of related work experience. In addition, an individual seeking voluntary certification needs to have around 2-3 years of industry experience as a supervisor or manager. In general, possessing more work experience is beneficial to an aspiring banquet manager's employment prospects.

Step 3: Earn Voluntary Certification

Earning voluntary certification can distinguish a candidate in the job market, sometimes leading to promotion opportunities. The National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation is a nonprofit organization offering voluntary certifications for food service workers, including food service managers. The certification process entails meeting minimum education and/or work experience requirements, which qualifies an individual to sit for the certification exam.

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